Turn your discarded cell phone into an asset

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When we buy new cell phones many of us hang on to our old ones. We rationalize that if the new one leaves us in the lurch, we still have a handset we can use. But after numerous upgrades, the pile of electronics taking up unnecessary space in our homes reaches critical mass. Then it’s time to properly get rid of what was at one time the latest and greatest technology.

Before following these tips, perform a full factory reset on the phone and remove any memory cards you may have installed.

Exchange your cell phone for cash

Extra or found money always comes in handy. Here are some places to sell your old phones and boost your income a little:

  • ecoAtm.com: Coinstar created the newest kid on the block, which employs artificial intelligence and digital photography to determine the value of your phone. It also recycles MP3 players and tablets. The machine at the mall kiosk, or inside a store, examines the phone, then searches for the highest price it can find from its network of buyers. If you approve the deal, you get your cash right then.
  • NextWorth: Get paid one of two ways on this site. Search for the Target store partner nearest you and take the phone in to get reimbursed on the spot. If you prefer, mail the phone to Nextworth’s address (free shipping). Upon receipt it’s wiped clean of any personal information, inspected and the monetary value of the phone goes to you via PayPal, a check, a prepaid Discover Card or a Target gift card.
  • SellMyCellPhones: Enter the make or model of your cell phone into the site’s search box and find out the price they’ll pay you that day. After you select the best offer available, they will send you a postage-paid envelope for mailing back your handset. Some buyers pay via PayPal while some send you vouchers.
  • YouRenew: This website works almost exactly like SellMyCellPhones, but you’re always issued a check.
  • Usell: “The most money for the least effort,” boasts this site. Locate your phone make, model and carrier, then rate it as either “flawless,” “good” or “damaged” to determine its monetary value. Send the phone in a prepaid mailing kit and you’ll either get a check or a deposit in your PayPal account in return.
  • Stores: Walmart, BestBuy, GameStop and Apple all buy used smartphones.
  • Go old school: Sell your aged phones on eBay or OfferUp.

Convert your cell phone into a handy gadget

If you’d rather not sell your handset or can’t get the price you want, all is not lost. These technology-filled devices have a host of other uses.

  • Make a digital photo frame: Upload the picture you want to display on the phone and set the handset on an inexpensive stand. If you have an Android device, add the free Dayframe app, which connects to all your social media accounts. Then you have a constant stream of pictures moving across your screen.
  • Appease your child: Kids love to play with phones and that seems to keep them quiet, at least for a short period of time. Download the freeZoodles Kid Mode app on an old phone and keep their attention even longer. They can only play games in the safe digital playground unless you grant them permission to leave.
  • Keep a watchful eye: By following the directions on the free IP Webcam or IP Cam app, you’ll have a security camera in a matter of minutes. Access the IP Webcam for Androids from the Google Play Store and theIP Cam from the iTunes store.
  • Find your way: The GPS on your current phone drains the battery quickly, but you can dedicate your old handset solely to navigation and spare yourself that problem. Use the $20 CoPilot app to access maps of the US and Canada. With this purchase, you also get a free trial of ActiveTraffic which alerts you to traffic congestion, gives you current fuel prices and weather reports.

Don’t trash it, donate instead

Throwing a used phone in the trash is not environmentally friendly. It adds toxic chemicals to the landfill. If you’ve exhausted all your other options, then give it to someone who can make good use of it.

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